FUZZY SPOT, July 1999, Draco

Draco is a large, mainly circumpolar constellation which winds between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.  Thought it is a very large constellation, it does not have many bright deep sky objects.  One object of historical interest however is NGC 5866.  There has been much debate as to whether this object is really M-102.  Depending on who you believe, this fits the description of the location of M-102 as described by Mechain, even though later he considered his observation in error and a duplicate of M-101.  In any event, take a look at it when doing the Messier list, it doesn't hurt to have an extra object.

Here's a sample of what's in Draco, some big and bright, some faint and small, all interesting.  All are observed with my 10" F4.5 scope unless noted.  Enjoy!

        NGC 3147 (10h16.9 +73 24) The first galaxy of this month is pretty small, somewhat faint, and has a faint halo which slowly then suddenly brightens up to the middle.  I didn't see any nucleus, any texture, nor any elongation.  I considered this as a generic pimple galaxy.  There is a bright star to the S which is best kept out of the field.

        NGC 4236 (12h16.7 +69 29) This is an interesting galaxy, it is very large, very elongated, pretty faint, with some brightening towards the middle but no real center.  I  scanned past it 3 or 4 times before I saw the galaxy, use averted vision to help find it.  It is situated in a grouping of stars shaped like Leo's head.

        NGC 4291 (12h20.3 +75 23) and NGC 4319 (12h21.7 +75 20)  I observed these galaxies in my 20" F5 scope from Dugas meadows on a nice night with Steve Coe.  4291 is pretty bright, somewhat small, and round.  A patchy and mottled halo suddenly brightens up to a very bright middle and an occasional non-stellar nucleus.  There are 2 very faint stars involved.  My eyes played some tricks on my, as I suspect a clockwise spiral structure even though it is an elliptical galaxy.  NGC 4319 is somewhat bright, somewhat small, elongated about 1.5:1 NNW/SSE.  It is slightly brighter in the middle and contains a bright non-stellar nucleus.  The main reason I put these observations in here is that there appears to be a star involved on the S of 4319, which is actually a quasar, Mrk-205.

        NGC 5866 (15h06.5 +55 45) This galaxy is the possible M-102.  This observation (along with NGC 5907, 5982, and 6503) is from my early days when I didn't take detailed notes.  I saw it as pretty bright, somewhat big, quite elongated, with stars to W and SW of center.  Using averted vision made the halo grow somewhat.

        NGC 5907 (15h15.9 +56 19) This is an extremely elongated galaxy, very large, and somewhat brighter in the middle.  Using averted vision makes the halo grow, and I suspected a dark lane.  The elongation NE/SW.

        NGC 5982 (15h38.6 +59 21) Here we have a galaxy which is pretty small, round, contains a very bright center without a nucleus.  Averted vision makes the pretty faint halo stand out.

        NGC 6015 (15h51.5 +62 20) This elongated galaxy has some interesting stars around it.  There is a star on W edge, a double star to the S, and using averted vision, there is a faint star or stellaring occasionally seen between the galaxy middle and the double star to the S.  The galaxy itself is pretty faint, has a brightening in middle without a nucleus.  Using averted vision makes halo grow a little and possibly shows some mottling in the middle.

        NGC 6503 (17h49.4 +70 09) The last galaxy of the month is very bright, pretty large, and  elongated E/W.  It has a brighter middle but without a core or nucleus.  Using averted vision makes the halo grow somewhat and shows some possible mottling.  There is a star to ENE.

        NGC 6543 (17h58.6 +66 38) The last object of the month is a planetary nebula.  It is very bright, very small, and slightly elongated ENE/WSW.  The central star can be seen, best with averted vision, however this makes the nebula fade out. There is a star to WNW which is slightly dimmer than the nebula.

Herschel 400 Objects
3147, 5866, 5907, 5982, 6543
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects
5907, 6503, 6543